Natascha’s dress was a custom-made top and skirt created by Liby Ball of Bloomington Stitchery.

Mike + Natascha


Mike Jacob admits that he’s not a particularly romantic guy. So it’s no surprise that his marriage proposal to Natascha Buehnerkemper was unconventional. “Getting on a knee—that’s not me,” he says. Yet their wedding was hauntingly beautiful and quixotic.

Natascha, 33, and Mike, 32, met as co-workers at Bloomingfoods. Theirs was a low-key courtship. Their first date was an evening at Kilroy’s with a few of Mike’s friends. But as they spent time together, they realized they were a good match. “It started off as just fun, but then we got along really well, continued to hang out, and got more serious,” Natascha says.

In October 2015, the two were having dinner at El Ranchero when Mike mentioned a recent dream he’d had. Natascha remembers, “Out of nowhere, he said, ‘I had a dream the other night that we were getting married, and it just made sense. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that. So will you marry me?’”

After getting over her initial shock, Natascha said “yes,” and the couple went back to eating dinner. “It was very low key and very true to us,” Natascha says.

From the beginning, Natascha and Mike had a specific vision for their wedding, and they enlisted Lucee Blue Events to help them bring that vision to life in The Clubhouse at The Fields. To evoke the moody feel they wanted, they used a color palette of deep jewel tones with black accents. Bloomin’ Tons Floral Co. created lush arrangements that featured dark red and peach roses, succulents, and eucalyptus.

The four-tier naked red velvet cake with dark red and peach roses.

Natascha’s wedding-day attire was a custom-made top and skirt created by Liby Ball of Bloomington Stitchery. One side of the reversible velvet skirt matched the pale gold top, while the other was deep red. The ensemble included a velvet cape in emerald green with black sequined epaulettes.

The wedding took place on November 19, 2016. That morning, photographer Laura Von took photos of the wedding party at Woolery Mill. “I finally saw her dress and how beautiful she looked,” Mike says. “I was holding back tears, that’s for sure.” Adds Natascha, “It was total happiness.”

The couple’s friend Ryan Boyce officiated the ceremony, for which they wrote their own vows. Christy Buehnerkemper Elder, Natascha’s godmother, was her maid of honor, and Mike’s close friend Stephen Maynard was his best man.

The ceremony also included a twist on the traditional unity candle ritual. Before the ceremony, each person received a black taper. The couple’s parents lit the main candle, from which Natascha and Mike lit their candles. They in turn lit the bridal party’s candles, and the bridal party lit the guests’ candles. Bathed in soft candlelight, the pair exchanged rings.

At the reception, guests dined on barbecued pork and macaroni and cheese from Carson’s BBQ & Catering. The cake, from Icing on the Cake by Kristina, was a four-tier naked red velvet decorated with dark red and peach roses.

Dave Walter served as the DJ, spinning 90s R&B and hip-hop tunes. At the end of the reception, a school bus transported everyone to The Atlas Bar, where the celebration continued.

The couple honeymooned in Southeast Asia for three weeks. They visited Mike’s extended family in Malaysia, where they held a second wedding reception, and also traveled to Brunei.

When Natascha and Mike reflect on their wedding, they agree that the best part was being surrounded by family and friends. “The thing that sticks out to me is how incredible it was to have all those people in one place celebrating us—this total feeling of being enveloped by love,” Natascha says. —Molly Brush

Today, Natascha and Mike are in the process of renovating their home in Smithville, which they purchased in 2018. Mike continues to prepare food for Bloomingfoods and Natascha, who earned her B.F.A. in graphic design, has launched an independent design studio called Rhizome Design Co.